In the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, it can be easy to get caught up in the material aspect of this time of year. An Alaskan fundraiser called the Festival of Trees recognizes that it is better to give than to receive. With the rise of the global issue of human trafficking, the organization is supporting survivors through a holiday-themed festival this weekend, according to KTVA News.
Human trafficking is a sick form of modern slavery running rampant all over the nation. The group that is most at risk is reportedly the homeless youth, who often have no protection or outside guidance. Loyola University conducted a research survey on the homeless population of 10 major U.S. cities, including Anchorage, Alaska. Among the 641 homeless individuals surveyed, 19 percent claimed they had been victim to the crime. Of all the cities studied, the highest number of victims were reportedly from Anchorage.
Dismayed by these statistics, Anchorage decided to fight back in order to protect these at-risk individuals and provide aid to survivors. The Alaskan Tree Festival works in conjunction with two non-profit organizations, Priceless and Chosen. Both of these organizations work with law enforcement to identify members of society that are most likely to fall victims to the horrors of human trafficking. They also help provide aid to survivors who have made it through the ordeal. Priceless believes that all women, regardless of past circumstances, are deserving of a safe and healthy life.
"We firmly believe no woman wants to be trafficked. We believe that if given the chance to escape and live differently, every woman caught in the trade would choose this. We, at Priceless, bridge the gap between being trafficked and living a healthy, vibrant, self-sustaining life. The gap can feel like an impossible chasm for most victims without a loving supporting hand. We are building that bridge."The organization not only protects against human trafficking but also provides assistance to those who have suffered from domestic battery, rape, and other forms of abuse. Their funding provides shelter, transportation, food, and counsel to those who have nowhere else to turn.
Those wishing to support this event for a good cause may purchase tickets online. There will be a contest awarding a prize to the best decorated Christmas tree, as well as multiple choirs that will be performing throughout the event. This holiday season, consider giving back to the vulnerable of the community in the true spirit of Christmas.